1. If you have talent and do not learn the necessary tools to write, you will never be a great writer. You will definitely never write a great novel.
2. If you have the desire and learn every tool and study great writers, you may become a very good writer.
Either way, we must live with the consolation that only others--and time--will judge us. My philosophy is to treat writing as an extension of myself. In this manner, I don't use pen names or look at my books as 'income streams'. They represent me at particular times in my development--as a person and as a writer.
For me, I begin the process of writing in a meditative state, allowing my mind to wander until it finds the tendril that it wishes to pursue. I allow myself the time--whether this means days or weeks--to let this grow into a form that I can see. I then begin writing a first scene. A character forms and I begin to see her personality. Another joins, and he or she begins to interact. Soon, a path becomes clear.
In my meditative state, I try to understand the general arc of the novel and the direction of the plot. I don't know or understand how it is to transpire. Everything is very tentative, very fragile. I don't know if I will need to abandon the line of the story or whether it will grab me and embrace (or strangle) me until I finish the book. It is scary, exciting, and exhausting all at the same time.
While there have been times when this inspiration comes to me as I finish the final chapter(s) of a manuscript, I find that I am utterly depleted after I finish a book. I tend to treat myself to a cigar (or three) and a few days off to clear my head. I will busy myself with editing, other business, cleaning--anything--until my mind resets and is ready to begin its next journey.
I am assuming you all know how to read and write. And I assume you are all able to write a novel. The question is whether and how to write a great novel.
My answer: even the great writers do not always write a great novel. Great novels are an accident intended by great writers. All we can do as writers is to become the best we can be and pray for such an accident.